Want to vent frustration with those in power? Enter the Michael Gove Voodoo Pincushion


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Stick it to the man

If only someone would invent a product that might enable people across the land to give vent to their frustration and anger with those in power …. Enter the Michael Gove Voodoo Pincushion (£25, etsy.com), as shared by thousands of Facebook users last week after it featured on the homepage of the popular Parentdish website. The crocheted creation is the brainchild of Brighton resident Katrina Stiff, who had the idea late last year. "I pretty much woke up with [it] in my head one morning," she says. "So I made one, posted a photo on my blog, and then turned my mind to my son's seventh birthday the following day. By the time that was over, I'd hit 18,000 'likes' and received lots of orders. Since then I have been crocheting Michael Gove's face constantly."

And why Gove? "I began with him because I was feeling this frustration about the things he was saying – perhaps because my son is at school, so education is close to my heart. I am not on a one-woman anti-Tory crusade. I did make a Nick Clegg one but couldn't capture his likeness. Sadly, many politicians' faces are quite bland, which makes it difficult to caricature them successfully on a small scale, in wool. Amusingly," Stiff adds, "Michael Gove and his wife ordered one for each other for Christmas. It wasn't my place to spoil the surprise, so I took the money and ran!"

This brand is our brand

Of the many questions arising from the Scarlett Johannson/SodaStream affair, the one that attracted fewest column inches is also, surely, the one impartial observers are most desperate to have answered: namely, what is a brand ambassador anyway? All will soon be made clear via a "docu-series for the millennial fashionista" in which the search for a brand ambassador for the Diane von Fürstenberg label will be turned into a reality TV show. The job description reads as follows: "With this coveted position, you could travel the world and live the jet-set lifestyle, representing the DVF brand at cultural happenings, store openings and premier fashion events …." Which sounds like a heap of fun (makers of real telescopes, if you're reading this, I'm available). But given that a brand ambassador is supposed to be the living embodiment of the product they're endorsing, can you match these celebrities to the brands they are ambassadors for?

1. Roger Federer; 2. Dita Von Teese; 3. Kelly Clarkson; 4. Taylor Swift; 5. Pele. A. Cointreau; B. Diet Coke; C. Volkswagen; D. Moët & Chandon; E. Citizen Watches. (Answers seriously, if you got any of these right you should be a brand ambassador – 1/D; 2/A; 3/E; 4/B; 5/C).

Sweet and power

While people all over the country are desperately trying to give up sugar (or "the new tobacco", as we must now call it), researchers at Virginia Tech have just published the following findings in the journal Nature Communications: "Sugar-powered biobatteries could serve as the next-generation green power sources, particularly for portable electronics."

That translates to mean that said researchers have developed a sugar-powered battery, which is claimed to last up to 10 times longer than the lithium-ion batteries used in smartphones and tablets. The perfect solution to two very now problems: what to do with the world's sugar mountain and how to stop your iPhone conking out half way through the day. Sweet.

Lucky, lucky me

Last March, it was announced that Lenny Kravitz had pulled out of the long-awaited biopic of Marvin Gaye. Then, in October, it was reported that three of Gaye's children had filed a lawsuit claiming Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" plagiarised their father's 1977 song "Got to Give it Up". And though that legal action has been dropped, a good-news Gaye story feels overdue. Which brings us to last week's US edition of Antiques Roadshow, on which an unnamed member of the public brought along a record he had bought for 50 cents at a collectors' fair. Nothing exceptional there, except that when he got it home, "out of the album fell this". The "this" in question being the late soul legend's 1964 passport, valued by the show's appraiser at $20,000 (£12,200). Quick, get thee to the nearest car-boot sale!

What's the Buzz?

Just getting to grips with "selfie" and "twerking"? Here are eight words you never knew existed that made it into the BuzzFeed Style Guide, made public last week:

1. Duckface; 2. Bro-down; 3. Catfished; 4. Fauxhawk; 5. Froyo; 6. Juggalo/Juggalette; 7. Mansplain, mansplaining; 8. Sidebutt.

Dry society

The beautiful people were out in force last Monday for the launch of the David Bailey exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. But while Grazia called the event "the best party of 2014 so far", not everyone was quite as enamoured. "It is a stunning exhibition," my source, a photographer who wishes to remain anonymous, says. "And the stars were out in force. But there was no one there under the age of 40." And it wasn't only Bailey's pictures that made our man nostalgic for a more glamorous past. "We [society snappers] are a dying breed," he says. "These days all the photographers want to work in fashion and advertising. It's no surprise. The younger stars are so well behaved these days: they put their drinks down before you photograph them, wouldn't be caught with a cigarette, and never flick us the 'V' sign any more …."

For no rhyme or reason

Another in an increasingly regular series of limericks based on recent events:

Instead of just playing it straight

On the "Benefits" TV debate

What we got for our sins

Was more Katie Hopkins

It's no wonder we're in such a state